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The New International, March 1943

W. Amadeus

Books in Review

Princely Potpourri


From The New International, Vol. IX No. 3, March 1943, p. 92.
Marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


On Borrowed Peace
by Prince Hubertus zu Loewenstein
Published by Doubleday, Doran & Co., Inc.; an American Mercury Book; 344 pages, $3.00

Here is another book on the Brown Shirted scourge. It is not an important book; it adds nothing to one’s knowledge of the German and European events of the last decade, nor is it a penetrating analysis of the social basis for the rise of Hitlerism. On the contrary, little or nothing is offered in the way of a fundamental explanation of the powerful social forces of disintegrating capitalism and the movements of reaction and despair which it has spewed forth. This book, however, is not written by a professional journalist, a state official, a jobless republican or deposed and frustrated social-democratic politician. It is a sentimental and romanticized biographical picture of the dark decade, interspersed with Catholic and humanistic sermons by a devout and princely German republican of Austrian origin.

Thus, we are taken through the struggle of this courageous prince against the rising Nazi tide, his disappointment at the absence of the will to struggle by the social-democrats, the cruel and barbarous conduct of the victorious fascists in Europe and his own continuous flight. It is not a new story and his adventures are not particularly exciting. They are, as a matter of fact, commonplace, for the Prince had a host of upper class and influential friends in numerous countries, and he had, above all, the means to avoid the extreme hardships of the hundreds of thousands of revolutionary and proletarian exiles.

The book may have interest for those who want to know how a representative of bourgeois democracy with an aristocratic progenitor and strong connections in the Catholic Church lived through the evil days of a Nazi hunt. Aristocratic station, a comfortable amount of money, important connections, all of these help ease the physical strain of zu Loewenstein. His anguish was and is entirely moral and spiritual, based on his concepts of Christian principles. Finally, it was possible for him to reach American shores, settle his family and himself comfortably in a decent “middle class” home in New Jersey and to carry on his activities in behalf of a restoration of a bourgeois democratic Europe.

The Prince, like so many others, realizes that the old Europe is an impossibility; that its reconstitution can only mean a repetition of the past. He has his own plan of reconstruction. Again, like many similar plans emanating from the bourgeois liberal and democratic world, his post-war plan is an admixture of utopianism, economic planning on capitalist foundations, and moral regeneration of the Continent on the conception that “What is morally good is reasonable, and what is reasonable is morally good.” Having set down this precept, zu Loewenstein can expect a continuation of all the evils about which he has complained, for he has overlooked the reality that this precept forms the basis of universal dispute and struggle which is usually decided by physical and class power!

How does he propose to solve the European question? By the establishment of a Continental Commonwealth, a European patriotism, a Commonwealth judicial system, “interlocking treaties of arbitration,” courts of arbitration to settle “national” disputes within the Commonwealth, international student exchange, a central bank and the pooling of currencies, etc. This European state would lay the basis for a future World Republic! And all of this will come (or should) on the basis of capitalist society, the private ownership of the means of production (monopolized) and production for profit; all of this will rest upon the fundamental traditions of bourgeois economy, upon the economic tendencies engendered by the class nature of this society. For a violation of the bourgeois structure is furthest from the Prince’s mind. He has faith and Christian idealism to carry him on! God knows that is little enough comfort.

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